3-20-17 fdl high school transgender students want changes to district anti-discrimination policy

A group of Fond du Lac High School students wants the Fond du Lac School Board to show their support for transgender students.  Brianna Burgess is a junior at Fond du Lac High School.  Burgess is transgender and a co-leader of a school group called SAGE…Sexuality and Gender Equality.     Burgess  would like to see the school board to include gender identity and gender expression in the district anti-discrimination policy.  “Throughout the school year I had a lot of teachers who refuse to use my pronouns or refuse to acknowledge the fact that I am not a girl,”   Burgess told WFDL news.  “Its kind of like someone telling you don’t have brown eyes even if you have brown eyes and it makes you question yourself.  It really just gets to you in the end.”   While about 1.6 percent of the general population attempt suicide,  some studies show a staggering 46 percent of the transgender population has reported attempting suicide.   After repeated gender slurs, and bullying, coupled with other issues, Burgess attempted suicide.   Robert Brown is the editor of the high school newspaper Cardinal Columns.  Brown says he has talked with other transgender students who face the same challenging issues.   The students also want the district to let transgender students use facilities that correspond with their gender identity.    Fond du Lac School Board president Mark Jurgella says the board will review an anti-discrimination policy when the board meets in a workshop this summer.  But Jurgella is  non-commital on whether he supports adding transgender language to the policy.  “We’re trying to be inclusive of as many people at that school as we can be, but we also have to balance that against rights of the other students and are there legal issues that come into play that we need to learn about,”   Jurgella told WFDL news.  “I feel its an issue worth examining and fighting for.  I don’t know if its time has come here yet.”

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